Sunday Mail

NASA space copter ready

- WASHINGTON

THE helicopter that NASA has placed on Mars could make its first flight over the Red Planet today after a successful initial test of its rotors.

The current plan for the first-ever attempt at powered, controlled flight on another planet is for the 1.8kg helicopter, dubbed the Ingenuity, to take off from Mars’ Jezero Crater on Sunday at 10.54 pm US eastern time (12.24pm TOGLOBAL morrow in SA) and hover 3m above the surface for a halfminute, NASA said.

“The helicopter is good, it’s looking healthy,” Tim Canham, Ingenuity operations lead, said.

The plan is to have it take a picture of the Perseveran­ce rover, which touched down on Mars on February 18.

Flying on Mars, with limited gravity, is more difficult. Another four flights are planned.

THE violent riots that have wracked Northern Ireland cooled down after the death of Britain’s Prince Philip dampened flaring tempers in the deeply divided province.

The worst unrest of recent years in the British-ruled region has mainly stemmed from its pro-uk unionist community, angry over apparent economic dislocatio­n due to Brexit and existing tensions with pro-irish nationalis­t communitie­s. Planned marches and protests in unionist communitie­s were cancelled following the news that Philip had died.

A placard in one unionist neighbourh­ood requested “protests are postponed as a mark of respect to the Queen and the Royal Family”.

But it warned protests against Brexit and “injustice” would continue “after the period of mourning”.

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